Boston

BIUL_BostonWhen you’re part of an extremely obscure band, it makes you a relentless self-promoter, because you’re constantly gasping for exposure. It can be pretty grating after a while, and my shoehorning of Tailothepup into the last panel is a perfect example. Granted, I didn’t exactly make our music sound appealing there.

My cousin wasn’t really a “hipster”, either; he was the one listening to DEVO and Oingo Boingo, when I was in grade school digging Def Leppard. He even owned a Gruppo Sportivo LP, and you’ve never even heard of them. He also possessed a wealth of MAD paperbacks, which is where I first glimpsed the work of Willy Elder and Wallace Wood.

Four years after I wrote this strip, Boston lead singer Brad Delp dragged two charcoal grills into his bathroom and asphyxiated himself in the tub. Apparently he was a very depressed man, and I hope to god this strip didn’t somehow exacerbate it. On the other hand, he had two charcoal grills, so obviously he was living a pretty good life. Anyone who needs more than one grill is a popular dude.

Not to downplay the tragedy, but if you’re dismayed that Robin Williams probably killed himself because of Lewy’s body disorder and not depression, you can read my eulogy and replace his name with “Brad Delp”, and it works just as good.  Hey, what can I say, I’m there for you.

Tom Scholz, guitarist of and driving force behind Boston, is the inventor of the Rockman portable guitar amplifier. He created audio effects that simply did not exist at the time. This is why Boston doesn’t sound like any other rock band, and it’s probably why they were so snotty about synthesizers in the liner notes.

I can only guess what it would be like to possess electrical engineering skills on par with WWII inventors. Imagine having those talents, and seeing an almost literal wave of up-and-comers bearing shiny new synthesizers that produce all manner of boops and beeps at the touch of a button. Now that your magic comes in a box from Japan, no one cares about your little transistors and soldering irons.

This is a constant in life. Ask any DJ what the bane of their career is, and they’ll instantly reply that it’s kids with machines. Almost no cartoonist letters their dialogue with pen and ink, like I do; it’s much easier to go with a “comic strip font”. I myself utilize Photoshop to color my artwork, which seems like malarkey to any painter or colorist worth their salt. Filmmakers of yesteryear vehemently opposed the hand-held “Blair Witch” style, before it stuck forever at the dawn of the 21st century.

Cheapness and convenience are the enemies of craft. Nothing worthwhile is ever produced in haste. The speed of the internet has convinced artists that they need to produce faster than human muscles can move. The aggregational nature of the web appears like a bottomless vortex of stimuli, which no one person can ever hope to match. Great movies take years to make; great books, often decades. Boston averaged about one album every ten years, and the various painters of their covers were able to take their time.

Then again, Thomas Pynchon has been turning out novels on the reg lately, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

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